Feature: Ego Ella May Pours Her Soul Out on Debut Album ‘Honey for Wounds’

Ego Ella May © Karolina Weilocha
A tender and raw outpouring, Ego Ella May’s intimate debut album ‘Honey for Wounds’ paints a powerful depiction of pain and suffering, redemption and release.
Stream: “Give a Little” – Ego Ella May


Soothing, heartfelt and heavy, hauntingly intimate and painfully honest, Ego Ella May’s debut album is a transcendent experience. May gets us deep in our feelings in all the right ways, burning the midnight oil with smooth, golden vocals, compelling instrumental work, and lyrics whose vulnerability cuts to the soul. Hers is a musical immersion of neo-soul, jazz, singer/songwriter, and more “worlds” blended into one cohesive, grooving, and expressive outpouring. It can often be hard to put music as personal as this into words of our own, but if any truth can be said of Honey for Wounds, it is that Ego Ella May has found her voice: Tender and raw, the artist’s introductory full-length paints a powerful depiction of pain and suffering, redemption and release.

Honey for Wounds - Ego Ella May

Honey for Wounds – Ego Ella May

Breaking news at 6pm
disappointed by government
rich get richer as poor ones weep
same depiction on every screen
And it’s like the whole world
is running away from the burn
Tell me how long ’til it feels like we’re home?
lonely too long
tell me how long ’til it feels like we’re home?
I’m losing hope.
– “How Long ‘Til We’re Home,” Ego Ella May

Released June 26, 2020 via UpperRoom Records, Honey for Wounds is the majestic and long-awaited debut album from London artist Ego Ella May, who first brought her South London “future soul” to our ears nearly a decade ago. A deeply vulnerable set of eleven songs, the set arrives on the heels of May’s 2019 compilation record So Far and more recent pre-release singles “Girls Don’t Always Sing About Boys,” “How Long ‘Til We’re Home,” and “Give a Little.”

“All of me [went into Honey for Wounds]!” May tells Atwood Magazine. “I don’t think I had a filter on this album, so it is very honest and transparent which I am proud of. It was like a diary to me. They are all personal stories from the heart, and I think if that doesn’t capture who I am then nothing else will! It remains the best representation of me right now.”

Ego Ella May © Jelani Pomell

Ego Ella May © Jelani Pomell

Armed with a breathtakingly dreamy, sultry voice and a poet’s sense of self-expression, May rises above genre in finding means of connection – both with her collaborators, and with her audience. The smoky album opener “Alright” featuring American jazz trumpeter Theo Croker sets a fitting tone for the record, followed immediately by the mixture of beauty and pain rollicking through the torn “Table 4 One.”

Influenced by several coming-of-age encounters with romance, independence, longing, self-discovery and more, Honey for Wounds offers listeners a template for reflection, balance, and escape.

“It is music to heal to,” May explains. “I hope the listeners can feel less alone when taking in the album, and also I hope they find it soothing during this very strange time we are all going through.”

Ego Ella May © 2020

Ego Ella May © 2020

While prerelease singles like “Girls Don’t Always Sing About Boys” and the hypnotic “Give a Little” have proven themselves as quick fan favorites, Honey for Wounds bears plenty of sweet, fresh fruit. “In the Morning” is an intoxicating emotional experience with a vivid pulse; “Song for Bobby” is a lilting overhaul from the heart; and “Science” is an intense, unshakeable force you need to hear in order to understand (words simply won’t do it justice).

No matter where you put the needle down on Honey for Wounds, you’re guaranteed to feel the weight and strength of Ego Ella May’s artistry at work. This is a truly special release for the young emerging artist – a debut that is sure to go down as one of 2020’s finest.

“I really just want to enjoy this moment of having my album out and bask in it for a while!” says May. “I’ve never had a full body of work out before, so I wanna soak it all up.”

We recommend you spend some time soaking up Honey for Wounds as well. Experience the full record via our exclusive stream, and peek inside Ego Ella May’s Honey for Wounds with Atwood Magazine as the artist goes track-by-track through the music and lyrics of her debut album!

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:: stream/purchase Honey for Wounds here ::
Stream: ‘Honey for Wounds’ – Ego Ella May



:: Inside Honey for Wounds ::

Honey for Wounds - Ego Ella May

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Alright

I wrote this after I had taken a hiatus from music. It felt like a good intro to the album because I wanted to people I’m alright and I’m still alive and I’ve been thinking! I had been thinking about how powerful our voices are (I say there’s power in the tongue at the end of the song), and about intention a lot. My fave part of the song is of course Theo’s solo! He did it in one take.

Table 4 One

This is one of those things that I refer to as collateral beauty. I had a reeeeally painful heartbreak that I didn’t think I would EVER get over, but actually some real beautiful stuff happened as a result of being thrust into single life. I became softer, and more independent, and happy to do things solo (including going out to eat & asking for a table for one!). The musicians on this song took it to a whole other level and I’m sooo grateful I got to work with them on this. It’s one of my proudest songs!

How Long til We’re Home

I wrote it because I’m scared of seeing the same shit on the news and I believe we are becoming desensitised. It’s not normal to see so much terror on tv.. so I addressed it. I will always remember feeling so separate from the world, but also realising that we are all in this together and only have one life to live (apparently) so why aren’t we taking care of each other? Why are we causing harm to ourselves and our planet? And then of course there is the common African diaspora question of, where is home? It’s not here and it’s not there…

Song for Bobby

Bobby is a code name. I’m not that brave to call him out! This song is about a deep sense of longing, but knowing that it is time to move on from someone even though you really, really don’t want to. I actually wrote it around the same time as table for one, and was coming to the realisation that I was better off alone, but it still didn’t make taking those next steps any easier! This is the first song Eun and I worked on together (we then went on to girls don’t always sing about boys, and give a little), and it was so special! He doesn’t know how good he is.

Girls Don’t Always Sing About Boys

I was sick of hearing romantic love songs! I wanted to address other things that I was learning about and reading, and so I did 🙂

In the Morning

This song was easy to write! I remember that clearly. It just kinda poured out of me when I went to the studio with Tom Excell (who produced the song). It’s quite a fun song and is about being able to start fresh in the morning, and it’s pretty much been my saving grace when I think about all the ‘mistakes’ I’ve made in life. I realise at any point I can start again. I can wake up and choose to be a completely different person! And that makes me feel good 🙂

Never Again

This is a reminder that I never want to feel as low as I once did, ever again. I cannot and will not go back there.. so much so, that I just repeat those words over and over again lol. I also had the help of Maralisa from Space Captain to bless me with additional backing and also beautiful ad-libs at the end of the song. She’s so wonderful and I’m grateful she’s on the album!

Science

I always say I don’t know who I was when I wrote this song. It’s all over the place melodically, and it just feels like word vomit lol, but I like that! It’s pretty much about an outer-body experience I had with someone I very much connected with and was possibly borderline obsessed with, but tried to fight it.

Tonight I’m Drowning

I love this song a lot! I love the trumpet in the beginning 🙂 it’s another full band track like “table for one”, and I’m really happy with it! It’s a pretty straightforward subject matter- missing someone! And having those feelings come in waves. Sometimes you think you are finally over it, then it hits you again. It’s a very frustrating feeling!

Give a Little

My ‘woe is me’ song! This is the last song I wrote for the album and I was well and truly fed up and sick of myself! So I said, “Somethings got to give!” I wondered if I should just die.. at least the I would have peace. It is quite a morbid thing to admit in a song, but ultimately I am saying I am hopeful for change! After I wrote the song, lots of things shifted for me.. it felt like a dead weight had been lifted. It’s a really sunny song, but actually the lyrics are quite dark and I like the juxtaposition of that.

For Those Who Left

It was my way of addressing the pain I had discussed in the album. Now that I had gone through it and come out the other side, I didn’t want it to return! It was a way of closing the door on it and thanking it for showing me what I needed to heal from, but I am ready to move forward 🙂

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:: stream/purchase Honey for Wounds here ::

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Honey for Wounds - Ego Ella May

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Mitch Mosk

Mitch is the Editor-in-Chief of Atwood Magazine and a 2014 graduate from Tufts University, where he pursued his passions of music and psychology. He currently works at Universal Music Group in New York City. In his off hours, Mitch may be found songwriting, wandering about one of New York's many neighborhoods, or writing an article on your next favorite artist for Atwood. Mitch's words of wisdom to fellow musicians and music lovers are thus: Keep your eyes open and never stop exploring. No matter where you go, what you do or who you are with, you can always learn something new and inspire something amazing. Say hi here: mitch[at]atwoodmagazine[dot]com